Digital health news briefs for 4/12/2018

By Dave Muoio
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Lending an ear. Planned Parenthood recently announced that it’s Chat/Text program, which connects young people with sexual or reproductive health questions to trained health educators, has facilitated more than one million text or instant message conversations. The program is designed to offer personalized guidance in the form of a live, responsive conversation and, according to data presented in 2016, is more likely to drive users to seek care at a health center than the organization’s informational website alone. The organization also noted in its announcement that the program was responsible for 22,674 visits in the last month alone, 57 percent of which engaged young people of color.

A virtual inside peek. National Health Service England has chosen the HeartFlow FFRct Analysis — a technology that creates a 3D model of a patient’s coronary arteries using data from a non-invasive coronary CTA — over nearly 300 other applicants to be funded through its Innovation and Technology Payment program. As a result, NHS England will be providing reimbursement to providers using these technologies through the program, allowing wider adoption throughout the NHS.

“We are delighted that NHS England has chosen to fund and to help encourage widespread adoption of the HeartFlow Analysis as part of the ITP program,” Dr. John H. Stevens, president and chief executive officer at HeartFlow, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with NHS England to improve efficiency and the patient experience while delivering cost savings as demonstrated in our clinical trials.”

Choosing wisely. Thanks to a new collaboration with patient feedback data company Binary Fountain, US News & World Report will now publish patient experience ratings on many of its doctor profile pages for consumers shopping for care. Binary Foundation derives its ratings by aggregating patient feedback collected from more than 100 online sources and interpreted using natural language processing, creating a patient satisfaction score ranging from “fair” to “excellent.” The data will be added to the doctor profiles over the next couple of months, beginning with family medicine physicians, according to US News & World Report.

A staggering digital registery. This week, The New York Times offered a closer look into India’s ongoing biometric-based identification initiative, called Aadhaar. Outlined under legislation passed by the country’s parliament in 2016, the national effort is recording the fingerprints, eyes, and faces of India’s 1.3 billion residents, and links these to traffic tickets, bank accounts, pensions, and welfare meals.

“No one has approached that scale and that ambition,” Jacqueline Bhabha, a professor and research director of Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, who has studied biometric ID systems around the world, told The Times. “It has been hailed, and justifiably so, as an extraordinary triumph to get everyone registered.”